The San Diego Padres have thoroughly disappointed thus far in 2014. The club has managed to plate just 279 runs heading into the All-Star break. That’s good for dead last in MLB by a staggering 81 runs. The “swingin’ Friars” also head into the break sitting last in baseball in eight major offensive categories including hits, runs scored, batting average, runs batted in, slugging percentage, extra base hits, on base percentage and total bases.
Fittingly, the team ended the first half with consecutive shutout losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers by a combined score of 2-0. That’s a telling stat, because for how incapable the Padres have been when they step in the batter’s box, they have been every bit as capable when stepping on the mound.
The San Diego pitching staff has limited the opposition to just 329 runs thus far, good for second fewest in the National League. The 745 hits the staff has allowed are the fewest in the NL. 20 pitchers have toed the rubber this season, and they are the combined owners of a remarkable 3.18 team ERA.
In what has been yet another dark season in San Diego, it is the pitching staff where you will find glimpses of light.
Closer Huston Street saved 24 games in 25 chances, while posting a 1.09 ERA and earning a trip to the Midsummer Classic. Joaquin Benoit has dominated in his role as the setup man, posting a 1.84 ERA over 38 games. Both Benoit and Street will draw significant interest as the July 31 trading deadline draws nearer, and the Padres can expect a hefty return if they do in fact choose to move the duo.
As a rebuilding club, the Padres should be encouraged by the production they are getting from from young starting pitchers. 27-year-old Tyson Ross has posted a 2.85 ERA and 3.28 FIP on his way to earning his first All-Star appearance. Fellow 27-year-old RHP Odrisamer Despaigne has managed a 1.35 ERA through his first 26.2 innings in the big leagues, following a successful career in Cuba.
Undoubtedly, the most exciting young pitcher thus far has been RHP Jesse Hahn. The 24-year-old was acquired this past offseason along with LHP Alex Torres from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for infielder Logan Forsythe. Through his first seven starts, Hahn is 5-2 with an impressive 2.21 ERA. He has dazzled hitters with a spectacular “12-to-6” curveball, which has played a large part in his 47 strikeouts.
My advice for Padres fans is fast forward to the pitching.